Gov. Jared Polis delivers the 2023 State of the State address to a joint session of the Colorado Legislature in the House chamber at the Capitol on Jan. 17, 2023, in Denver. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post, pool)
Gov. Jared Polis and the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade recently announced a new public-private initiative in an effort to position the state as a leader in technology innovation and job creation.
The initiative, coined TechHubNow!, would compete with tech hubs nationwide for federal designation under the CHIPS and Science Act, a strategy championed by the Biden administration. The process will select 20 hubs across the country. Once selected, a tech hub will be granted money out of a $500 million fund from the federal government to improve economic growth and bolster U.S.-based technology.
“Colorado is home to a thriving ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurial culture,” Polis said in a statement. “From our world-class institutions of higher education to our highly talented and educated workforce, we continue to position ourselves as a leader in the industries of the future.”
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Colorado has consistently been ranked one of the top states for education and was recently ranked seventh in the country for its growth in tech jobs, adding 10,174 new jobs in 2022 at a growth rate of 4.3%. It’s also been ranked as one of the top states in the nation for workforce, having the highest share of adults with an advanced degree in the country (44%), the fourth highest labor participation rate (68%) and the fourth highest share of STEM workers (9%).
In addition to announcing the new initiative, Polis and OEDIT hosted a roundtable discussion with the Economic Development Administration Assistant Secretary Alejandra Castillo and state business leaders to discuss technology and potential tech hub designation. TechHubNow! will aim to accelerate statewide collaboration and bring together partners who can develop equitable and competitive applications for tech hub designation.
“By orders of magnitude, this is the largest competitive and catalytic funding opportunity offered by the Department of Commerce to strengthen and further develop Colorado’s technology ecosystems,” said Wendy Lea, co-founder and chair of Energize Colorado. “Our successful pursuit will ensure we elevate our status as a national innovation leader to become a premiere inclusive global tech hub, driving wide-scale, state-wide opportunities for family-sustaining, tech-related careers.”
OEDIT will host its third meeting later this month to create a diverse array of applications for tech hub. Through these meetings, OEDIT’s Business Funding & Incentives division and Rural Opportunity Office have engaged with more than 120 people from over 60 public and private organizations across the state, including research institutions, nonprofits and private advanced industries partners. Private sector groups have collectively made seven-figure financial commitments to directly accelerate applications in the coming months.
“Colorado is known for its top talent, robust research and development, advanced and growing industries and strong public-private partnerships,” said Eve Lieberman, executive director of OEDIT. “TechHubNow! will put a spotlight on those strengths and accelerate statewide collaboration to position Colorado as highly competitive for tech hub designation.”
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